Regularly we see modern cars being polished with Autoglym on the driveways of the world but this summer I stumbled across a friend of my father in law who has this Citroen Traction Avant in his garage in France. I knew absolutely nothing about them before I saw the car close up but for the fact they were a very early adopter of front wheel drive, hence ‘Avant’ in the name; front.
Walking across a dusty hot village to see the Citroen for the first time I was welcome of the shade in a brilliantly designed, and cool, garage where the covers revealed this near 70 year old car that was just wonderful with it’s originality, aura and presence. With a 2.8 litre six cylinder engine this 15/6 was built in 1950 and a pioneer of front wheel drive, independent suspension on all corners and a monocoque body. It’s long, big, supremely luxurious and fantastically elegant….but with some bodywork and chrome that needed a bit of tidying up. To the Autoglym box!
The paint was a bit dusty in places with additional dried off water spots that needed a going over with a damp microfibre cloth and then to take off some swirls with Super Resin Polish that really made the depth of the black bodywork resonate. There’s quite a bit of car to work on here so it was time for a break. Armand runs a bar in a neighbouring village and had his own bar and kitchen set up in the corner of the garage lined with decades worth of branded carafes with Pernod, Gitanes, and Orangina, posters of the Tour de France, the local Rugby team (he’s a Six Nations fan) a picture of De Gaulle, a French flag and a TV. For the record….you did need a sit down and a chat after polishing the whole car because it is…so big. Not Transit-van-big but still your arm is talking to you saying ’tennis elbow approaching’ after such a job.
A further layer of UHD Wax was applied eased by the fact that the wax was warmer than on most days I have used it in the UK so the sponge applicator laid it on perfectly. Once dry and with some new microfibre cloths the paint then pinged out in ‘3D’ from before. Armand had never really gone over the car in such detail and was beginning to see how modern car care products really do make a difference.
Next was the chrome…and was there a load of chrome! Of course there were the big bumpers and lights but all over the car there were hinges and smaller delicate pieces that nowadays would be plastic chrome that you never need to touch whereas there was much to be done here…and all very satisfying. The running boards below the doors came up a treat and really impressed Armand, but for us it was the tiny little fire extinguisher that sat behind the driver’s seat that pinged up fantastically.
Armand was very impressed and insisted we all went out for a drive through the vines to his bar because you must understand it was a very big car to polish… De Gaulle would’ve been proud.
Toby Moody/Olivia Gauch